Record for the world's longest scheduled passenger flight is with Singapore Airlines. It was the Singapore-Newark flight that covered a distance of 9,534 miles, but was suspended in March because of COVID-19. It will restart operations November 9 with a minor modification. The flight will now be up to JFK, New York instead of Newark, NJ. It will mean a slight increase in distance from 9,534 miles to 9,536.5 miles. This flight was a test of endurance for passengers and the crew because they have to be in the air for 18 hours. The minor change in destination will help Singapore Airlines cater to a favorable mix of passenger and cargo in the ongoing era of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has led to a drop in passenger traffic and the airline wants to compensate that with cargo. It seems the airline hopes to get a sizable load of cargo. These could be from pharmaceutical companies, e-commerce and technology firms. There would be three flights per week in an Airbus A350-900 with economy, premium economy and business class.

CNN says the number of regular passengers who would avail this option might be limited. One of the reasons for this this is that there is a restriction on entry of people into Singapore. Entry is authorized for permanent residents, those who hold visas or have traveled from countries that qualify for an "Air Travel Pass." This category covers Australia, Brunei Darus-salam, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Apart from them, there could be a sprinkling of people from nearby countries engaged in activities that are sponsored by companies in Singapore.

Singapore Airlines would adhere to COVID-19 protocol

In spite of COVID-19, the airline had maintained its nonstop flights from Changi airport to Los Angeles.

While doing so, Singapore Airlines had indicated its willingness to review its operations to the United States. Its intention was to assess the requirement of air travel as the world was in the recovery mode from the pandemic. That information would help the airline to take a decision on whether it was feasible to reinstate services to other points in the country.

CNN explains that outward-bound flights from Singapore to JFK will take 18 hours and 5 minutes. However, the return journey would be slightly longer because of the headwind. Singapore Airlines also confirmed that the crew would follow COVID-19 protocol. They would wear goggles, gloves and masks. The passengers would have to remain wearing masks except while eating and drinking.

New options for Singapore Airlines

According to USA Today, COVID-19 has devastated the travel sector and Singapore Airlines is keen to revive air travel. It plans to restart its nonstop New York to Singapore flights next month. This would come as a boon to Americans who want to get back into the flying mode. The airline would suspend the flight, from Newark, New Jersey, to Singapore and instead operate it from New York.

Singapore shut its borders months ago, and it has been treading cautiously as it eases restrictions. The airline wants to promote the concept of allowing foreigners to travel to other countries through its airport. Incidentally, Singapore Airlines converted two of its A380 superjumbos into restaurants. The airline is toying with different ideas to keep its head above the water during the COVID-19 crisis.

Robust health and safety measures followed by Singapore Airlines

In the opinion of Henry Harteveldt, an industry analyst, the return of the ultralong flight is proof that a certain group of consumers wants to return to the air. He is associated with San Francisco based Atmosphere Research Group.

In his words – “People want to travel and our research shows in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, the desire to travel remains strong." Singapore plans to open an air travel bubble with Hong Kong. A senior official of the airline feels the robust health and safety measures followed by Singapore Airlines will assure passengers that they are in safe hands.

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